With preparations in full swing for the spooky season, it is important that we not only start planning our decorations, but also how we can keep our canine friends safe during the holiday season. Halloween is a fun time for all, but with constant visitors, intimidating costumes and toxic treats it can become a sensory overload for our pets. Frightened animals are more likely to run away or show out-of-character behaviour when they get stressed; so here are a few tips and tricks to keep every member of your family in high spirits and avoid any unnecessary strife during the festivities.
Save the treats for the humans (at least the sugary ones)
Some of the most popular Halloween treats are toxic for our pets – especially chocolate, so it is best to keep these stashed away in a safe place that is out of reach of any curious mouths. However, sweets aren’t the only risk our pets face during the holidays. Wrappers, spooky decorations and detachable costume pieces can all be just as attractive to our canine friends - and not in the way they are to us. The problem is dogs tend to eat things that are attractive to them (as I’m sure many pet parents would agree) and unfortunately their intestinal tracts aren’t very welcoming to fake spiders’ webs and Hershey’s wrappers. Items like these can cause blockages, which if not removed quickly can result in a unwanted trip to the vet. We suggest that you keep an eye on your pets to make sure they aren’t getting their nose into anything that isn’t going to agree with them. If you do want to include your pet and give them their own healthy treat, check out our Halloween inspired recipes on our blog!
Update their tags and ID
Answering trick-or-treaters all night can increase the chances of your pet escaping outside. It is easy for a gate or door to accidentally get left open. Make sure that your pet is wearing the proper forms of identification – a microchip, collar with ID that is linked to the correct databases for your region. Before the big night, double check to make sure that your address and contact information attached to these ID’s are up to date, this way if anything happens your pet will have the best chance of finding their way back home.
Keep the costumes simple (yours and theirs)
When it comes to scary costumes, our canine friends can get even more frightened than us! Sometimes it is easy to forget that our pets don’t understand the concept of dressing up and seeing their owner or a stranger wearing masks and scary clothes can make them feel anxious. So be sure to keep in mind how your pet may react to the costume you choose and keep an eye out for any change in their behaviour when interacting with trick-or-treaters. Dressing your pet up in cute costumes is one of the best parts of Halloween! When getting them ready for trick-or-treating, make sure you are doing it in the safest way possible. Some costumes can inhibit their ability to move and communicate with us – such as positioning their ears or tail. Any costume you dress your pet in should not restrict their ability to move, hear, breathe or bark. If you really want to get them in on the fun, try adding a spooky collar, cape or bandana.
Create safe spaces to ease the stress
With a load of strangers comes a load of stress! Lots of attention and visitors can be scary for your pet. Make sure your canine friend has a safe space where they can go to relax, away from the chaos of the night. Deck it out with Halloween themed toys and treats and the night will fly by for them in no time. If you know you have an easily excitable dog, it could be helpful to set up a treat station outside your door where trick-or-treaters can help themselves – this way you can avoid the doorbell ringing on repeat.
The holidays shouldn’t be stressful, make sure you are prepared so that every member of your family can enjoy the fun – four-legged friend included. If you do want to include your pet and give them something special, treat them to a bag of K9 Natural – they will love you for it!